four East Liberty PetSmart Staff Charged After Canine Died Throughout Foster Go to – CBS Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A Pittsburgh woman who says her dog was strangled to death while his nails were cut at a PetSmart is asking the company to be accountable.
Now four employees involved in their lawsuit are charged with animal cruelty and PetSmart said they have been fired.
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AJ Ross says her dog Kobe was part of her life and companion for 12 years as she moved around the country looking to pursue her career. On November 17, 2020, she said she took Kobe to PetSmart in East Liberty for a nail cut.
She says she saw the groomer go back to the salon with Kobe. Minutes later, when she was buying treats and toys for him, she said she heard the manager call over the intercom.
Moments later, the manager took her into the drawing room, where she saw her toy poodle lying lifeless on the grooming table. She says she picked him up and ran.
“I rush out of the store and hope that fresh air might help him. If I just rub him and the fresh air hits him, he might wake up, ”she said to KDKA. “I say, ‘Kobe, wake up, wake up’ and he doesn’t wake up. And I just collapsed in front of the store. “
Ross took Kobe to a local vet where an autopsy report submitted by Ross to KDKA indicated that workers attempted CPR but were unable to resuscitate him. Ross said she said goodbye to Kobe and started questioning the actions of PetSmart employees.
She says the PetSmart manager told her that Kobe just passed out when he got his nails done.
“What, did he look sick? What did you say? He just passed out? And they couldn’t give me a straight answer, ”said Ross.
After several attempts to get responses from PetSmart employees, a regional manager took them to the store on December 1, 2020 to watch the surveillance video. What she supposedly saw traumatized.
“They tied him to a leash and tied him to the end of the nursing table. So his neck is stretched in different directions, ”she recalled. “He was hanging. It hung for over a minute. He fought and was tortured. They didn’t do anything, they just kept cutting his nails. “
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According to Animal Control, the same day she saw the video, Ross called Humane Animal Rescue and asked for an investigation.
What Ross describes what happens to her dog is corroborated by criminal charges filed by an animal control officer against the four former employees. The officer writes that one employee holds Kobe while he battles the leashes and another employee cuts his nails. According to the video description in the complaint, Kobe eventually goes limp, and then the employees call for a manager.
The complaint states that the animal control officer showed the surveillance video to a veterinarian describing what happened as in line with an animal suffering from a crushed trachea.
In a statement to KDKA, PetSmart said, “We are heartbroken and we really apologize for the loss of Kobe. After that terrible accident, we opened an internal investigation and discovered that our pet safety precautions were inadvertently not being followed. We also worked with an outside investigation, fired the staff in charge, and performed an autopsy to get answers. “
Ross says she asked PetSmart for information about how employees are trained and what protocols employees must follow. In an email to Ross from a PetSmart manager that Ross provided KDKA with, Ross informed her that he could provide her with this information and said, “We ask you to sign a confirmation (sic) To keep these documents private due to our training Academy, policies and procedures are copyrighted and these documents are generally not available to the public. We are ready to make an exception here and we would like to share this with you in these circumstances. “
However, Ross believes that PetSmart’s guidelines on how the company trains its snow groomers should be public and transparent so that pet owners can make informed decisions about who to entrust their dogs and cats to.
“Just because someone did six hours of animal care training, are they really up to the job?”
Ross says the experience has been difficult to relive in the days since the former employees were indicted on May 7, but she wants something to come out of their experience so that people are aware and protected.
“This is a void. For me, Kobe was like family, ”said Ross.
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The four former employees face multiple charges, including an animal cruelty charge.
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